Miscellany is one of those great words that reminds us of 19th-century collections of prose and poetry–separate writings united between a book’s covers. Those works were much more impressive than what’s included here. The following works represents aspects of professional historical practice that verge on the ephemeral–meant for a momentary use, part of a larger project or a stand-alone, but based on solid historical research and scholarship.
Collections Up Close: Michigan State University Museum
Only a small fraction of the number of artifacts in the Michigan State University Museum’s collection is exhibited at any time. The Museum’s website featured “Collections Up Close,” an occasional series through which to bring more artifacts out into the virtual light of the virtual day called the Internet. These entries were archived at the MSU Museum’s Flickr site but these have now (2019) been erased. I’m sorry to learn that the Museum’s director did not think that this sort of public history (reflecting curators’ and students’ often new research) was important enough to keep within the public’s view.
Papers and Presentations
The best part of being a scholar is sharing, discussing, and debating ideas. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to participate in a variety of professional scholarly meetings and symposia. Some of these papers are preliminary statements of larger projects, while at other times these papers serve the purpose of the event and will not see publication. Read at your peril!
On American material culture studies:
“Secondhand Culture Studies: A View From the Rustbelt”
“Second Hand Culture: Waste, Value, and Materiality.” Bard Graduate Center Symposium, 15-16 April 2010, New York, NY. This presentation was illustrated with PowerPoint slides, available here.
Keynote, “Material. Culture. Now.”
Sixth Annual Material Culture Symposium for Emerging Scholars, 12 April 2008, Winterthur Museum and Country Estate, Winterthur, DE
“Matters Out of Place”
Roundtable discussion, “The Impure Artifact: The Place of Museums in American Studies,” American Studies Association Annual Meeting, 3-5 November 2005, Washington, DC. This presentation also included a handout surveying American Studies programs that offer material culture studies courses.
On aspects of American culture, past and present:
“Flappers, Frivolities, and Wild New Freedoms”
Institute of Humanities Fall Lecture Series, John Carroll University, 9 November 2009, Cleveland, OH.
“Something Old, Something New … Something Martha Stewart: (Re)Inventing Wedding Traditions in Contemporary American Consumer Culture”
Twelfth Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, 6-9 June 2002, Storrs, CT.
ECHO underway was a staff-produced blog charting work towards the Encyclopedia of Connecticut History Online (ECHO), a project of the Connecticut Humanities Council. I served as the project’s historian for a year (2010-2011). Echo underway and ECHO have disappeared, reborn in part as Connecticuthistory.org. You’ll find on this page dedicated to my ECHO underway blog entries links to the images in a number of the posts–I would need to request permission but I would like everyone to know Connecticut History illustrated, a digital collection of images, artifacts, and audio recordings from the great museums, libraries, and historical societies in the state.
Historic Cemetery Tours
The Vienna (Ohio) Historical Society is restoring the Township’s three historic cemeteries. To date, the Society has documented each extant grave marker, instituted summer preservation days to clean the venerable stones, and enlisted a gravestone preservationist. From 2010 to 2012, the Society instituted an annual historic cemetery walk to raise awareness of this valuable historic resource. As the Society’s historian, I created these tours.
Ohio Historical Marker
The Vienna Historical Society prepared a successful application for a two-sided Ohio Historical Marker, which was dedicated on September 20, 2014. I researched and provided the marker texts and prepared the marker application for approval by the Ohio Historical Connection.
Viennapedia is a community project initiated and organized by the Vienna Historical Society and dedicated to the history of Vienna Township, Trumbull County, Ohio. As Vienna Historical Society historian, I created this online encyclopedia, which has now grown to over 450 entries–and counting!